It wasn’t too long ago (less than three months, actually), that Microsoft was touting the slate of original programming set to be produced for the Xbox platform. But late last week, the company did a 180-degree turn, and they decided to shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios altogether.
While it’s certainly a shock to Xbox fans and viewers hoping to see what Xbox original programming could do differently, it can’t be too much of a surprise to the world, as Microsoft also announced that it will cut 18,000 jobs over the next year.
Over the past year, Microsoft lost their former CEO Steve Ballmer, who is bidding to buy the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, and former Xbox chief Don Mattrick. When two big minds like that, with big plans and big ideas on how things will/should run, leave a company, there’s bound to be several shifts in direction and goals.
Xbox Original Programming Ends Too Early
The Xbox One was introduced late last year, but it just hasn’t had the sales that Microsoft expected, as it was being billed as more of a home entertainment center, than just a gaming system.
Users are able to connect their Cable TV boxes through the Xbox One unit, and they can then switch back and forth from their Cable TV shows to Netflix, video games, or other apps, including a web browser. They can also ‘Snap’ an app to the side, in order to have two things going at once — much like Picture in Picture — but with video games and the Internet.
Recently, however, the Xbox One has a price tag of $399, which is $100 cheaper than when it originally came on the market nine months ago.
The hope for Xbox Entertainment Studios was that it would start providing Xbox original programming like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix has. The system itself is already putting itself in competition with streaming units like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, but when they launched the studios, their intent was to compete on another level with the other streaming services — as well as Cable TV and video-on-demand producers.
It’s interesting that Microsoft chose to shut the studios completely down, as it seemed like they were ahead of the curve for the current path of television programming. Original programming on services like Netflix have really begun to grab hold of viewers, even winning Emmy Awards and other television accolades, not to mention a ton of viewers.
Now, the problem will be that Microsoft has burned a lot of their advertisers that were anticipating and expecting the new programs.
If Microsoft does decide to someday come back to Xbox original programming, it’ll be much tougher to build momentum and garner trust — from advertisers, partners and users.